There are literally hundreds of exciting recipes out there that call for cooked, shredded chicken. Chicken sliders made with shredded chicken are always easy to make and are a crowd pleaser. Having some shredded chicken on hand also makes preparing lunch so easy – just mix some shredded chicken with mayo, add some chopped greens, salt and seasoning and you have a tasty sandwich. Let me share with you how to make shredded chicken in 20 minutes or less, for the times where you are too busy and just want to get things done as quickly as possible.
Step 1 – gather the seasonings
In a medium size boiling pot, add the following:
- a handful of peeled carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces or a handful of baby carrots
- a couple of small peeled and cut in half onions
- a small bunch of parsley, dill or any other fresh herbs you like and have on hand
- a couple of bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
- and any other seasonings you like
- 1 cube chicken or vegetable bouillon (if you have it)
Step 2 – add the chicken
Add 4-6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts on top. Add cold drinking water enough to cover the chicken breasts.
Step 3 – cook the chicken
Turn the heat to high and bring the water in the pot to boil. Lower the temperature to low, give the chicken and the rest of the ingredients a good stir, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 162F – 165F. Don’t cook the chicken past 165F or it will get stringy and rubbery. Remember, the internal temperature of the chicken will continue to rise after you stop cooking by about 3-5 degrees. That’s why I like to target 162F to make sure I hit the safe temperature of 165F and don’t overcook the meat.
Step 4 – let the chicken rest
Remove the chicken from the broth, place on a piece of heavy duty foil, wrap tightly and let rest for about 5 minutes. The rest period is important as it lets the meat fibers reabsorb some of the moisture lost during cooking. If you cooked to 162F, the temperature will come up to 165F during this rest period, which is also important.
Step 5 – shred the chicken
Now, this is a little unconventional, but, trust me, you will love the results. I like using my Kitchen Aid mixer to shred chicken breasts. Shredding chicken in a stand mixer is super quick and the results are exceptional.
Place the chicken into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Turn the mixer on to low and let it rip for about a minute for finely shredded chicken, or about 30 seconds for coarser shredding.
If you want the texture like the one you get when shredding chicken by hand, add mayo from the very beginning. Mayo will lubricate the chicken and there will be less friction, resulting in coarser shredding. See the picture with the bell peppers.
Voila! You now have perfectly shredded chicken breasts. Trust me, no other shredding method at home comes even close to making such beautifully fluffy, finely shredded meat which is a pleasure to eat. Not to mention it only takes one minute and won’t burn your fingers.
Step 6 – season your shredded chicken (optional)
You don’t have to do it now, but may as well while the chicken sits in the mixer bowl. Add some mayo, scallions, or any other herbs and spices you like, add some salt and pepper to taste and mix on low for another 10-15 seconds.
My favorite way to prepared a shredded chicken mix is to add mayo, scallions, black pepper, salt and some finely diced yellow and red bell peppers. Yum.
Now, spread it on a bun or a piece of sandwich bread and enjoy.
This shredded chicken will keep in the fridge for about 3 days or up to 3 months if vacuum sealed and frozen.